Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday’s College Basketball Wrap-Up

We’ll start at the top with North Carolina. As expected, they took care of business, but 43-13 is an embarrassing halftime scoreline to swallow for in-state rival North Carolina State. While giving praise to the Tar Heels for their play, ESPN’s Jay Bilas also suggested that the Wolfpack have major chemistry issues. Having viewed as much as I can handle with a full slate of competitive games on the docket, Bilas’s conjecture seems correct. Of course, it’s easy to be down to North Carolina by 30 points at the interval when they are rolling on all cylinders and the opposition settles for long-distance heaves.

Anyone who did not see the finish to the UConn-Georgetown game may be thinking that there’s another Hibbert on the Hoyas roster, because the 7’2” center nailed a three-pointer with less than five seconds in regulation to earn the home team a 72-69 triumph at the Verizon Center. Right now, I am kicking myself for not getting tickets when I could have to see the Hibbert/Thabeet showdown.

Vanderbilt got knocked from the ranks of the unbeatens at Rupp Arena. Welcome to traveling on the road in the SEC.

Texas got scorched by Missouri. While receiving solid production from their big three – DJ Augustin, Damion James and AJ Abrams – the rest of the team contributed a whopping 19 points and 16 rebounds. This will have to change if Texas wants to remain in 2-seed consideration come Selection Sunday.

Another victim of the shock was none other than Michigan State. Who knew that you could beat a legitimate top 10 opponent by shooting 27.5% from the field and miss 13 free throws? Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter must have preached ball security, because committing eight turnovers versus eighteen for the Spartans is what won the game for the Hawkeyes.

At Westwood, UCLA outlasted Washington State. It was a story of two games – the first 38 minutes where WASU failed to make a basket and the second when they knocked down 7 straight three-pointers. Yes, seven.

Outside of the BCS conferences, Drake and Illinois State continue to be the pacesetters in the Missouri Valley. At some point, I expect at least one member of the old guard – Southern Illinois, Creighton, Northern Iowa, Wichita State – to wake up.

In the Colonial, Delaware (you mean that was picked 12th by the foremost expert on the conference?) is 5-0 in conference play and have been a different team since one game after a number of transfers joined the squad. This week, the Blue Hens required overtime in wins against George Mason and Old Dominion.

I could dabble with the goings-on of other conferences, but they will get their fair share of love in the bracket projections that will be available tomorrow.

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